Water and Energy Minister Silvan Shalom called the European Union on Sunday to add Hizbullah to its list of recognized terror organizations.
Speaking at the annual plenary of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) which gathered in Budapest, Hungary, Minister Shalom urged Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who was present, to support such a move.
In his remarks, Shalom said that Hungary must protect the more than 120 thousand Jews living in the country against rising anti-Semitism, adding that anti-Semitism does not exist only in Europe but also in Israel’s neighboring countries in the Middle East.
"Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust on a daily basis and declares his desire to destroy Israel. Other leaders in the region also make such statements and constantly remind us that the Middle East is not an easy neighborhood,” Shalom said.
He added that the Hungarian Jews will feel safe only when there is harsher punishment for acts of anti-Semitism and only when all members of the Hungarian government will strongly act against anti-Semitism.
Commenting on the situation in the Middle East, Minister Shalom said, "We live in a tough neighborhood and need to constantly be strong and ready for any threat. Some of the leaders of the region continue to see Israel as a foreign plant and plot to attack Israel, and Israelis and Jews in general anywhere on the planet. The Israeli government will continue to instruct the IDF and security forces to do everything to prevent harm to its citizens.”
There have been growing calls on the EU to add Hizbullah to its list of terrorist organizations, particularly after Bulgaria announced that the group was behind the July 2012 terrorist attack in Burgas which killed five Israelis.
Shortly after the Burgas bombing, the EU decided not to list Hizbullah as a terrorist group.
Cypriot Foreign Minister Gujarat Cossack-Marcolis said at the time that "there is no consensus on the issue, because Hizbullah also has an active political arm."
Speaking at the same plenary in Budapest on Sunday, WJC President Ronald S. Lauder hailed the strength of the Jewish community of Hungary, but warned that continued anti-Semitism is causing Hungarian Jews to consider leaving the country.
Orban also addressed the plenary, insisting that anti-Semitism was "unacceptable and intolerable".
"Hungary has a moral duty to have zero tolerance of anti-Semitism," he said.
"There is no freedom without human dignity, we won't tolerate anyone offending the dignity of any ethnic or religious community," he added, noting that the new constitution introduced last year provided protection and dignity for all minorities in Hungary.